We prepare for our trip south and we are packed into one backback before jumping in a taxi and then on a train within an hour. As we settle into our seats we smile at each other that being the well seasoned travellers that we are it takes no time to fill a bag with only the things we need for a weekend getaway. She sleeps soundly on the train and when she does wake she is happy to enjoy sitting on our laps playing with our faces and hands.
We arrive into Lisbon and instantly feel the pulse of the city and the warmth of the sun on our faces. What a change from stormy Porto! A quick walk from the station we enter into a luxurious apartment right in the centre of the city with a view down a famous street that meets the water. We unpack and settle in before placing her in the stroller to grab a quick bite at a nearby cafe. With eclectic furnishings and the friendliest baristas Mister and I eat in silence while they entertain Isla so we can enjoy our meal. I grab a cup of fruit salad and savour every single bite of kiwi, pineapple, mango, and grapes. It is so delicious I cannot help but smile.
We stroll through the city to another nearby station and hop on a train West. We step off the platform in the most magical of places where there is a beautiful flowing energy that makes you think of secret gardens and fairies dancing in beams of light. We walk the cobblestone path through a thick forest that smells of fresh rain and spring water, the air thick with humidity but a coolness of dew on your face. We make our way to a beautiful and majestic country estate with an indian influence. Everything is simply romantic filled with light and open spaces. We spend as much time as possible walking through the house and through the gardens before we have to make our way home. Throughout the whole experience Isla babbled and exclaimed in her excited way whenever we walked through a passageway in the home or through the forest, completely happy with our excursion. And while we made our way home she fell asleep in his arms, completely at peace to be with us. We place her in the pram later that evening to go out for dinner at a nearby restaurant and have a delicious meal that once again we savour and enjoy completely. We talk excitedly about the past few weeks together, how much Isla has grown and the little person she is becoming, we talk of our plans for the next couple of weeks and most importantly our last week in Europe. When we finally crawl into bed we are tired, full, satisfied and completely energized.
The next morning we are awake early and ready to start the day with anticipation. We leave the flat and walk across the street to a nearby hotel lounge where we enjoy a delicious breakfast and a latte while Isla sits in her highchair, content and happy. She gravitates everyone towards her with her smiles and willingness to giggle and play peek-a-boo with ease. We walk the streets towards Igreja do Carmo and take in the beauty of the old ruin and the magnificent stone carvings and the view of the city below. Our afternoon is slow wandering around the city, the air thick with the smell of roasting chestnuts as we make our way through the streets taking in as much as possible. We stop into a lingerie store where I stock up on beautiful italian lace bras and then later I stock up on classic cardigans in grey, navy, and black. We take a tram to nearby Mosteiro dos Jeronimos where the building is filled with such intricate architectural details that everything looks like lace. Once again everything is breathtaking. We head out for dinner later that evening and under a candle lit dinner where the room smells of delicious vanilla we sink into deserts that leave a lasting flavour on our tongues.
Sunday morning we take our breakfast once again in the hotel lounge where they are excited to see Isla. We linger over bowls of fresh fruit, buttery croissants, and tangy orange juice. With our stomachs full we explore the castle above the city, spending as much time as possible before the rain sets in and our train whistle blows to take us home. She sleeps almost the whole train ride home while him and I sit in our seats next to one another we hold the other’s hand filled with love – for each other, for her, for travel, and for this experience of living abroad.
The evening we return from Lisbon we feel a jolt of energy run through our system as we realize it is our last week in Porto and our last week in Europe. We place her in her pram late at night and wander until we find a restaurant that is open and find a french influence tapas restaurant that delights us completely. We savour each bite and sip a smooth yet bold Portuguese red wine. While she sleeps next to us we talk of traditional elegance and how we want that to look like for us. We also talk of a chateau in the mountains where we celebrate future Christmases together, starting our own traditions and way of doing life.